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Lawmaker: 'Government Shouldn't Prevent Racial Discrimination'

South Dakota State Sen. Phil Jensen encourages racial and sexual discrimination as a way of promoting a "free market economy."

By Julissa Catalan


According to a Republican South Dakota State Senator and "free market economy" advocate, businesses should have the right to deny services to clientele based on their race.

In an interview with the Rapid City Journal, Phil Jensen stood by those beliefs, saying, "If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve Blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them."

Jensen believes the free market should decide whether or not racial discrimination is acceptable, not the government.

These views are in line with a bill Jensen pushed in South Dakota's last legislative session—Senate Bill 128—which proposed legalized discrimination by encouraging employers to enforce the right to refuse services based on a customer's sexual orientation without fear of a lawsuit. "It's a bill that protects the constitutional right to free association, the right to free speech and private property rights," Jensen said of SB128. "A bill that would have ensured the freedom of businesses to choose their clientele."

The bill, very similar to legal discrimination measures that were considered in Arizona (where it passed before being vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer) and Kansas, didn't even receive support from fellow Republicans, however, with Republican State Senator Mark Kirkeby calling it "a mean, nasty, hateful, vindictive bill." 

The bill failed in a 5-2 vote.

Jensen has had several other measures fail to generate any traction in the state senate, having also supported a bill that would have removed prohibition against carrying guns in the state Capitol.

Another failed bill that Jensen championed would have required welfare recipients to adhere to drug testing. Jensen said that he believes it's the taxpayers right to know who their money is going to.

In 2011, Jensen, who is a pro-life advocate, sponsored a bill that sought out to amend the state's definition of justifiable homicide in way that potentially would have legalized the killing of doctors who perform abortions. The proposal was shelved based on its wording.

A self-described evangelical Christian, Jensen has been referred to as "South Dakota's most conservative lawmaker" by the media—but he still refers to himself as just a "Reagan conservative."

Transgender People Reject Bigoted Policy​, Say They #WontBeErased​

The Trump administration proposes that government agencies should define sex as "a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth."

REUTERS

#WontBeErased hashtag erupted hours after The New York Times reported the Trump administration's push via a memo for a new legal definition of gender, which would essentially eradicate the estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as a different gender than the one assigned assigned at birth.

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Black Women Have Higher Rates of Life-Threatening Birth Complications

New study shows women of color have a 70 percent higher rate of major birth problems, even when they suffer the same health ailments as white women.

REUTERS

The University of Michigan released a study that shows women of color have higher rates of major birth problems. Many required emergency treatment such as blood transfusions — a staggering three-quarters of cases —for women suffering a serious hemorrhage.

The study of 40,873 women between 2012-2015 revealed Black women had 70 percent higher rate of severe birth-related health issues than white women, and that a disparity existed in terms of needing life-saving treatment—50.5 Black mothers vs. 40.9 white mothers per 10,000.

Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts, according to the C.D.C.

"Celebrities like Serena Williams who have shared their birth-related emergency stories publicly have drawn the national spotlight to the urgent need to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care for women around the time of delivery. To drive and target those changes, we need specific data like these," said Lindsay Admon, M.D., M.Sc., the study's lead author.

Williams, who has a history of blood clots, began feeling short of breath in the hospital the day after her daughter Alexis Olympia was born. A nurse said her pain medication was likely confusing her, but Williams was persistent and it saved her life.

"Situations like these are often considered near misses, and looking at them allows us to get a better picture of who the high-risk women really are," said Admon, an obstetrician at Michigan Medicine's Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital, and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Maternal Morbidity: Study reveals disparities by race and ethnicity.

All women who had chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, depression or substance use issues before giving birth had a higher risk for the continuation of those problems post-child birth, but women of color with two or more conditions were two to three times more likely to have major birth problems than white women.

White women had higher rates of depression and substance use issues than any other group, but the risk for birth problems was lower than women of color with the same health issues.

While Medicaid pays for almost two-thirds of all births among women of color, access to care is another issue that affects births and post birth health. Medicaid pays for more than a third of births of white and Asian women.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Blacks and Latinos were more likely than whites to face barriers in access to health care.

Between 2013 and 2015, disparities with whites narrowed for Blacks and Latinos in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, including the percentage of uninsured working-age adults, the percentage who skipped care because of costs, and the percentage who lacked a regular care provider.

Medicaid pays for most procedures for women of color.

Report on Racism in Philly Suburb School District Causes White Officials to Get Defensive

Instead of hiring a diversity and inclusion specialist to address diversity issues, they chose to hire mental health professionals and white-led university consultants.

Screenshot from Haverford School Board Video

After a report was released detailing racist incidents in the Haverford, Pa., school district and town, leadership in one of the most affluent regions in the country, with a predominantly white population, decided that diversity is not a priority.

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UPDATE: Man Found Guilty of a Lesser Charge for Shooting at Black Teen

Brennan Walker testified: "I turned back and I saw him aiming at me ... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot."

The jury at Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan found Jeffrey Craig Ziegler, age 53, guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

They deliberated less than three hours on Friday after closing arguments, where the prosecutor, Kelly Collins, argued that Ziegler "was the danger," not the teen. Brennan Walker narrowly escaped fatal injury because Ziegler forgot to turn off the safety on his 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun. The video showed he was unable to immediately fire at first, and police confirmed the safety was initially on.

Ziegler's attorney, Robert Morad, argued his client was firing a warning shot in the air one time and never chased after Walker.

The original charge was assault with intent to murder, punishable by up to life in prison, but Ziegler was convicted on the lesser charge and faces up to 10 years in prison.

He showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

Lisa Wright, Walker's mother, cried as the verdict was read. She had accused Ziegler of taking actions that were racially motivated. Her friend Carin Poole said justice was served "in some way."

Related Story: White Man Who Shot at Lost Black Teen and Called Him 'Colored' Stands Trial

Poole also said the hope was for a more serious charge.

According to a study done by the Equal Justice Initiative:

White defendants were 25 percent more likely than black defendants to have their most serious initial charge dropped or reduced to a less severe charge; approximately 15 percent more likely than similar black defendants to be convicted of a misdemeanor instead. White defendants with no prior convictions were over 25 percent more likely than black defendants with no prior convictions to receive a charge reduction.

Ziegler testified that he thought Walker was an adult, at 6-feet, 2-inches tall, and that "instinct" made him grab his gun to protect his wife.

Walker testified: "I turned back and I saw him aiming at me... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot."

Morad said outside of court that the home security video could appear to show Ziegler was firing in Walker's direction, but said the shot goes away from where the teen was running.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, "That's just completely unacceptable on every level. I don't know how you would justify it, but it certainly doesn't pass the muster," said Bouchard.

Judge Wendy Potts revoked Ziegler's bond and ordered him to jail pending sentencing Nov. 13.

Reader Question: When sentencing happens in a month, how much time in do you think Ziegler will be sentenced to?

Democrats in Midterm Jeopardy Over Poor Outreach to Latinos

Failure to directly address concerns leads to weak support. Races in Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Florida, states with growing Hispanic populations, are bungled.

REUTERS

Democrats are struggling to secure the Latino vote in the midterm elections because the party did not engage Latino voters strongly enough.

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White Man Who Shot at Lost Black Teen and Called Him 'Colored' Stands Trial

Shooter on trial might face life in prison, if convicted.

TWITTER

Jeffrey Zeigler, who is on trial for shooting at a lost Black teen in Rochester Hills, Mich., watched as his wife, Dana, broke down in tears in Oakland County Circuit Court on Tuesday, while testifying about the April 12 shooting, and watching a video of the incident.

Dana said she was frightened when she saw Brennan Walker, a 14-year-old Black teen, on her porch.

"What are you doing on my porch?" she recalled. "I saw a Black person standing at my door and I screamed at him, and I asked him what he was doing there."

Her report to police: "A Black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard."

The video shows Zeigler aiming at the teen, despite the claims that he tripped and his gun fired.

Prosecutor Kelly Collins said that "being a bad shot does not negate one's intentions."

Walker, then age 14, had missed his bus to school that morning and came to the Zeigler's door for help. After his wife screamed, Zeigler fired a shotgun at the teen, but missed him.

Zeigler had referred to Walker, in an interview with a sheriff's deputy, as "that colored kid" at his front door. The defense initially claimed it was the interviewing officer who said "colored."

Zeigler also said he was "tired of being a victim."

His attorney, Rob Morad, has said that "race was not a factor in the shooting, but rather actions from passion instead of judgment," Morad told jurors. He said the couple had five previous break-ins and were on "high alert."

Walker's mother, Lisa Wright, who was also in tears in the courtroom watching the video of her son flee for his life, said that she believed the shooting was a hate crime and that she wanted to see the prosecution push this to the fullest extent.

In April, she said that she believed this was racially motivated. After watching a video near the time of the incident, she said: "You can hear the wife say, 'Why did these people choose my house?' Who are 'these people?' "

Walker testified that after he knocked on the front door, which is behind a screen door, Zeigler's wife accused him of trying to break in.

"I was scared," he testified. "I was trying to tell them that I was trying to get to high school, but they weren't listening."

Zeigler was arrested and released on $50,000 bond and ordered to wear a tracking device. He was charged with assault with intent to murder, which could lead to life in prison, Oakland County District Attorney Jessica R. Cooper said, along with use of a firearm in a felony.

Zeigler also has a conviction for firing a handgun at another motorist during a dispute in 2004.

Reader Question: Watching the video, would you say Zeigler is innocent or guilty of intent to murder?

TWITTER

Republican precinct committeeman Michael Kalny of Shawnee sent a Facebook message about Democratic congressional candidate Sharice Davids, who is running against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep Kevin Yoder for the 3rd congressional district seat in Kansas.

"The REAL REPUBLICANS will remember what the scum DEMONRATS tried to do to Kavanaugh in November. Your radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian will be sent back packing to the reservation."

Emily's List posted on Twitter in response: "This racist, homophobic language is totally unacceptable. We're proud to stand with her & to help elect her." They've since promoted her, and another Native American candidate Deb Haaland of New Mexico.

Davids responded that the message "doesn't represent Kansas values, and it doesn't represent the values of the Republicans we know, many who support this campaign."

On Wednesday, Kalny resigned. "He reflected an apologetic attitude and didn't want to bring negative attention on the party or candidates running in this area," Johnson County Republican Party Chairman Mike Jones said.

No word on an official apology from Kalny to Davids yet. The hateful message was sent to Anne Pritchett, president of the Johnson County Democratic Women's north chapter, who had posted "hostile" messages on candidate Yoder's page in this fiery election race.

Davids, a LGBT lawyer and amateur mixed-martial arts fighter, could become the first ever openly gay member of the Kansas Congressional delegation, if she wins, as well as the first female Native American lawmaker in Washington.

She is a member of the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation ("People of the Big Voice"), which had historically been forcibly separated and relocated out of Wisconsin several times by the U.S. government.

Kalny, when questioned about his message by local media, said he needed to talk to his attorney and hung up the phone.

He also resigned from his position on the board of directors for the Kansas City Barbecue Society citing "personal reasons."

C.J. Grover, a spokesman for Yoder, denounced Kalny's comments:

"Kevin (Yoder) doesn't believe this type of rhetoric is appropriate at all. It's unacceptable," Grover said. "These kind of nasty personal attacks are all too prevalent in politics these days, and it needs to stop."

Davids has shown up in pre-election polls as leading Yoder by as much as 8 percent. She also faces Chris Clemmons, a libertarian candidate, on Nov. 6. Voter registration ends on Oct. 17, less than one week away.

​White Woman Calls 911 on a Black Man Babysitting White Kids: Video

A young girl had to tell the officer during questioning, "He's an after-school teacher and he's babysitting us."

FACEBOOK

A white woman in Georgia called the police on a Black man, Corey Lewis, as he babysat a 10-year-old white girl, and 6-year-old white boy. Their parents, who live in East Cobb, arranged for Lewis to babysit the kids weeks ago.

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